Sunday, December 30, 2012

Believe In YourSelf

As a toastmaster for one of the meetings, I selected the theme Believe In YourSelf. As part of the theme, I shared a motivational piece and few inspirational stories I came across sometime back, which I am sharing here. 

We all pass through life listening to others, appeasing others, waiting for approvals from others

We do not teach to trust ourselves enough. We need to believe in our abilities.   

Think what a remarkable, unduplicatable, and miraculous thing it is to be you! Of all the people who have come and gone on the earth, since the beginning of time, not ONE of them is like YOU!

No one who has ever lived or is to come has had your combination of abilities, talents, appearance, friends, acquaintances, burdens, sorrows and opportunities.

No one’s hair grows exactly the way yours does. No one’s finger prints are like yours. No one has the same combination of secret inside jokes and family expressions that you know.

The few people who laugh at all the same things you do, don’t sneeze the way you do. No one prays about exactly the same concerns as you do. No one is loved by the same combination of people that love you – NO ONE!

No one before, no one to come. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE!

Enjoy that uniqueness. You do not have to pretend in order to seem more like someone else. You weren’t meant to be like someone else. You do not have to lie to conceal the parts of you that are not like what you see in anyone else.
You were meant to be different. Nowhere ever in all of history will the same things be going on in anyone’s mind, soul and spirit as are going on in yours right now.

If you did not exist, there would be a hole in creation, a gap in history, something missing from the plan for humankind.
Treasure your uniqueness. It is a gift given only to you. Enjoy it and share it!

No one can reach out to others in the same way that you can. No one can speak your words. No one can convey your meanings. No one can comfort with your kind of comfort. No one can bring your kind of understanding to another person.

No one can be cheerful and lighthearted and joyous in your way. No one can smile your smile. No one else can bring the whole unique impact of you to another human being.

Share your uniqueness. Let it be free to flow out among your family and friends and people you meet in the rush and clutter of living wherever you are. That gift of yourself was given you to enjoy and share. Give yourself away!
See it! Receive it! Let it tickle you! Let it inform you and nudge you and inspire you! YOU ARE UNIQUE! 

So trust yourself to do something different, something unique


Friday, May 4, 2012

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®) Certificate

This post is for Project Management Institute (PMI)’s Agile Certified Practitioner(PMI-ACP) Certificate. Exam for this certificate is meant to test skills of agile practitioners. Pre-requisite for appearing in the exam includes having prior experience in general project management (2000+ hours) and agile specific project management (1500+ hours). Folks having prior PMP® or PgMP® automatically satisfy general project management experience and hence need not elaborate the experience while filling the form. Also pre-requisite requires having 21 contract hours earned in agile practice, which could include imparting or participating in agile training [Certified Scrum Master (CSM®), In-house agile training, Coaching Client, etc.]

My experience of the exam includes following tips
1. This exam tests knowledge on tools, techniques, processes, artifacts, etc. of those practicing agile. It includes knowledge on Scrum, XP, Kanban & Lean including each of the terminologies, ceremonies/meetings, roles, etc. associated with them

2. Its important to be familiar with agile specific principles and keywords including
  • Agile Manifesto
  • Agile Twelve Principles
  • Adaptive Leadership, 
  • Affinity Estimating,
  • Agile Scaling Model
  • Agile Leadership
  • Agile Triangle
  • Agile Earned Value Management (EVM)
  • Definition of Done
  • Burn Down Charts
  • Burn Up Charts
  • Chartering in Agile
  • Collaboration
  • Collocated or Distributed Teams
  • Conflict Types or Levels of Conflict
  • Continuous Integration
  • Cumulative Flow Diagrams
  • Customer Valued Prioritization
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Empirical Process Control
  • Escaped Defects
  • Exploratory Testing
  • Extreme Programming (XP) including roles, principles, TDD, CI, Pair Programming, etc.
  • Fractional Assignments
  • Information Radiator
  • Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  • INVEST Model
  • Iteration and Release Planning
  • Lean including process, value, five why's, etc.
  • Kanban including process, principles, task boards, etc.
  • Kano Model
  • Osmotic Communication (Open space or collocation advantage) 
  • Pareto Principle
  • Payback Period
  • Relative Sizing 
  • Refactoring
  • Retrospections
  • Risk Burn Down Charts
  • Risk Exposure
  • Scrum Ceremonies/Meetings (Release Planning, Sprint/Iteration Planning, Daily Scrum Meetings, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospection)
  • Servant Leadership
  • Signal Card
  • Story points (how to calculate them) 
  • Use Cases
  • Technical Debt 
  • Triangulation
  • User Stories
  • Value Stream Mapping
  • Velocity
3. I have been practicing Agile for 6 years and have digested most of the recommended reference books by PMI for this certification. Having said that when I tried answering the sample questions, was not getting more than 60%. That's when I realized that there are some gaps between practical and standard defined under PMI. After doing some googling, found AgileExams having some good set of questions and brought package of $49 for 9 months. 

4. Have to confess that going through this certification process was definitely beneficial for me as there are lot of things that I learned, which helped me improve upon certain processes that I follow. For example, how to control daily scrum meetings to not exceed more then 15 minutes, how earned value (Cost, Schedule) should be calculated for agile projects, getting familiar with keywords like osmotic communication, triangulation, servant leader, mapping agile values to my current projects, etc. 

5. I spent ~10 hours practicing the exams (short & long) and scheduled the exam in a prometric center, which luckily for me turned out to be less than a mile from my home and was having an opening slot within a day.

6. Allocated exam time is 3 Hours and consists of 120 questions. When I started the exam, I did answer the first question and then instead of 'marking' (middle button), pressed 'review' button (right bottom). It opened the review screen and I missed a beat, phew!!! :). I then went back to the exam screen and being little more attentive this time. After answering initial 2 -3 questions, found my rhythm & confidence and finished the exam within 40 minutes, marking ~10 questions. Took a break for using the restroom and finished reviewing the marked questions in next 5 minutes. I then spent some 1-2 minutes answering survey question about the prometric center and then it came on my screen something like " Congratulations on passing the PMI-ACP® examination"